Friday, December 23, 2005

Society Admits Traditional Medicine Doesn't Cure

Frightened at the possibility of government regulation, the Australian Traditional Medicine Society Ltd has produced a Submission to the Department of Health Discussion Paper on the Regulation of Practitioners of Chinese Medicine in Western Australia.

The submission is full of anecdotal evidence eg the extremely low rate of complaints about TCM (is this because the products have no effect? or that people feel stupid about using them and don't want to make a fuss? or that people turn to conventional medicine when TCM doesn't work?), that they publish a "peer reviewed journal" (exactly - peer reviewed. ho hum), that practitioners must have a first aid certificate (can't they just use the emergency homeopathic elixir of
life?), and recourse to newspaper articles to support arguments.

The preferred method of 'control' is 'Government Monitored Self Regulation' which is seen as 'impartial' and 'independent'. Eor is not quite sure how they worked that out, but anyone who is subtle enough to locate nonexistent meridians is obviously more intelligent than him. It's certainly independent of any oversight.

Also fascinating statements (dare I call them lies?) such as TCM is virtually no-risk since no potentially dangerous substances are used, TCMers are not permitted to use any Scheduled substances, their products are registered with the Therapeutic Goods Administration (registered, not proven - there is a distinct difference), Chinese medicines do not contain dangerous substances (a recent BBC report shows just how far from the truth this is). Also common interactions of TCM and prescribed medicines are well known and well documented (at least by real doctors). And then
No intrusive techniques are used by Chinese medicine practitioners. Acupuncture, although penetrating the skin, is gentle, soft and safe when used by a qualified practitioner.

So are innoculations, but I bet they all run a kilometre at the mention of that foul practise.

Then there's pages and pages of statistics about how few complaints are made about TCM. And of course the old chestnut about how many people doctors kill vis a vis TCMers. Judging the efficacy and cost/benefit of a service simply by number of complaints made to mainstream health care complaints organisations seems
a) very narrow minded
b) ignoring the real point
c) rather belabouring one of the few points that TCMers obviously feel they can promote themselves with.

While details of the few complaints made are not explicit, it's interesting to see the number relating to sexual misconduct and bruising from massage (EoR is disappointed that it's not made clear whether the two are related to each other).

Nearly 12% of complaints resulted in a police investigation. Is this similar for GPs? Or are TCMers more criminal?

It was interesting to note that the TCMer's preferred registration process involved "Minimal educational requirements" (not "Minumum educational requirements"). EoR suspects this was not a mistake. It doesn't state whether minimal education is for the practitioner or the patient.

The society's Code of Practice includes these gems
[The practitioner] must be competent and sympathetic, hopeful and positive, thus encouraging an uplift in the mental outlook of the patient and a belief in a progression towards good health practices.

Practitioners must never claim to 'cure'. The possible therapeutic benefits may be described as recovery, but must never be guaranteed.

EoR may be slow, but isn't this an admission that it's all about hope and positive thinking ("Always look on the bright side of life") and never about curing?

EoR wishes governments didn't regulate 'traditional' medicine, but simply accepted that they are uncontrolled practitioners with insufficient medical training prescribing substances with untested ingredients that produce undocumented side affects and which have no basis in reality, and banned 'traditional' medicine accordingly.

1 comment:

  1. Great blog I hope we can work to build a better health care system as we are in a major crisis and health insurance is a major aspect to many.


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